Bowie: ‘challenging times’ for Macau but hopeful for 2020 growth

Despite the year-on-year 22.5% plunge in the city’s VIP baccarat gross gaming revenue in the third quarter, the CEO and executive director of MGM China Holdings Limited, Grant Bowie said that he is satisfied with the current performance of MGM Cotai, citing the increase in the number of its visitor arrivals.
Speaking to the press yesterday on the sidelines of the official opening of the MGM Oktoberfest 2019, Bowie said the current trend in the gaming market is of a rising mass market segment.
“I think this process [the slowdown] has been ongoing for some time. I think we’re all transforming. In fact, what we’re seeing is the transformation of the business and I think everybody understands that the mass market is now moving up in terms of ultimately being the dominant source of revenue,” said Bowie.
“That’s what we were expecting to happen 10 to 15 years ago. Now we’re seeing it. I think this is a positive thing ultimately for Macau.”
“It is a challenging time right now though,” the executive admitted.
Commenting on the properties’ Golden Week arrivals, Bowie said that the company has seen more visitors at its Cotai property, while MGM Macau saw a similar number of tourist arrivals as last year.
For Bowie, lowering the properties’ room rates are not an option, despite the weakened spending of visitors, arguing that it would always maintain its standards and the value of its brand.
“Macau now is no longer as dependent on the big holidays. I think we’re now becoming more of a 365 destination, and again, that’s good,” Bowie remarked.
In terms of his expectations for the fourth quarter, the MGM China CEO expressed hopes that gaming operators in the SAR would experience improvements into the next year, despite seeing some deterioration and year-on-year reductions in the third quarter.
Although he was not expecting much of a change for this quarter’s gross gaming revenue, he said that the business is seeing stabilization and has “reached a new norm,” adding that the firm is becoming closer to being at a baseline from which the company can grow in future.
“Clearly what we would all like to see is the growth in the market, but these things happen in the industry and we’re all very equipped to cope with those changes,” said the executive. LV

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